UK-based Locksmith Animation confirms that it awarded the digital production of its second movie That Christmas to DNEG Animation, following their collaboration on Locksmith’s debut animated feature, 2021’s Ron’s Gone Wrong.
London-headquartered VFX company DNEG, which recently created the Oscar-winning VFX on Dune and is Christopher Nolan’s go-to effects house, expanded into feature animation with Ron’s Gone Wrong. Current work at DNEG Animation includes a feature adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, helmed by William Joyce.
Said Locksmith co-founder and president of production Julie Lockhart, “By corralling [DNEG’s] collective expertise, we are dedicated to creating a holiday film that families will enjoy for years to come.”
Currently in production, That Christmas is based on the series of children’s books by Richard Curtis — The Empty Stocking, Snow Day and That Christmas — which tell family stories taking place in the run-up to Christmas in a small English beach town. Curtis (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Love Actually, Yesterday) is writing the screenplay with Peter Souter, and making his feature directorial debut is character animation and story artist veteran Simon Otto (How to Train Your Dragon trilogy).
That Christmas will be produced by Nicole P. Hearon (an associate producer on Moana and Frozen II) and Adam Tandy (The Thick of It, Detectorists). Locksmith’s CTO and senior vp of digital production Doug Ikeler will serve as VFX supervisor, Ashley Boddy (Ron’s Gone Wrong) is head of story, and Sim Evan-Jones (Shrek, Shaun the Sheep Movie) was tapped to edit the movie.
Executive producers include Lockhart, Curtis, Souter, How to Train Your Dragon producer Bonnie Arnold, Elisabeth Murdoch, Sarah Smith, Colin Hopkins and the books’ illustrator Rebecca Cobb.